There are many reasons people seek out counseling. Some use counseling to process relationship issues or to heal after a painful divorce or breakup. Some start counseling when they’re experiencing anxiety that’s interfering with their job or challenging relationships. Many people go when their self-esteem is low and they wish to get to a more confident place, while others turn to counseling when they are stressed and overwhelmed or are working through grief after a significant loss.
Struggles and rough patches in life are inevitable, and there are times where seeking the help of a licensed counselor can help you through a difficult time. We’ve talked about some of the life events that lead people to seek help, but how do you know it’s time to make a counseling appointment?
Here are a few reasons you might seek counseling.
1) You feel stuck
Oh, that dreaded stuck feeling! When you feel stuck, it can feel hopeless... like no matter what you try, it will never change, and things will never get better. Or there may be times you’re “stuck” and know what you need to do, but you’re having a hard time motivating yourself or staying accountable.
2) You feel disconnected from others around you
Humans are social creatures that are hardwired to be in relationship with others, which is why isolation and feeling disconnected can take a toll on our overall wellbeing. This might also show up as a lack of interest in hanging with friends or no longer enjoying the activities you typically like.
3) You’ve been talking a problem in circles with your family and friends
The support of close family and friends is a huge benefit, and it’s important to have a support system you can lean on when you need it. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a neutral party, like a skilled counselor, help you through the difficult times of life.
4) People in your life like to tell you what you should do
We love a good support system! But sometimes it can be difficult for our loved ones to watch us struggle through a rough patch. People have a natural inclination to show they care by minimizing pain and trying to fix it or make it better. While full of good intentions, this unsolicited advice can be unhelpful to our own process.
5) It feels like you’re not measuring up
In the world of Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, social comparison is hard to avoid, and it can be easy to slip into an unhealthy pattern. Counseling is a good place to process what this brings up for you to help you keep a healthy mindset to get you where you want to be.
6) Your self-talk is critical and negative
Take a minute to check in with the voice in your head. What are you saying to yourself? How does this voice sound? Oftentimes our internal critics can be much harder on us than we would ever be on someone else. Sometimes working with a counselor to explore and change your negative and critical self-talk is the first step towards growth.
7) You’re experiencing unexplained physical symptoms like headaches, stomach problems, or sleep difficulties
More and more, we’re understanding the connection between our emotions and our bodies. Emotional stress can manifest in a number of ways, and sometimes this can include physical ailments. When something doesn’t feel right in your body, and you’ve ruled out a medical condition, it might be time to check in on your emotional stress levels.
8) You’re self-medicating with alcohol or drugs
When times get tough, we might notice an increase in substance use. If you’re turning to drugs or alcohol to numb emotional pain or issues, counseling can help you find healthier ways to cope.